Franciscan Mission Service came into existence in 1985 at the request of a group of North American Franciscan friars (OFM) who felt called to offer lay people the opportunity to experience international mission in the spirit of Saints Francis and Clare.
Brother Anselm Moons, our founder, believed deeply in the role of laity in the church. He said, “Our Church today is 99% laity, but with all the power in the hands of the 1% who are clergy. In my opinion, that says it all. Francis of Assisi brought to the Church of the 13th century a smile and a bright outlook. He wanted his brotherhood to be lay, even though in his day a few friars were ordained ministers serving laity and the Church’s mission. Thanks be to God today that the Franciscan family counts in its ranks many gifted and professional lay brothers and sisters”.
We sent our first lay missioners overseas in 1990 and since that time have trained, commissioned, and supported more than 130 men and women for service in: Bolivia, Bosnia, Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Kenya, Namibia, Nicaragua, Peru, Siberia, South Africa, Tanzania, Thailand, the Philippines, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
In 2009 we started offering service opportunities in Washington, D.C. through the Nonprofit Leadership Program (originally named the “Domestic Volunteer Program.”) We have since had about 20 young adult Catholics serve, live in intentional community, incorporate the Franciscan charism into their life and faith, and deepen their understanding and commitment to mission.